Favourite makes of 2013

2013 favourites

Pretty much what it says on the tin, a summary of the things I made in 2013 that I still like and wear.

Vintage inspired shirt dress

In a few words: I always wanted to make a shirt dress and, being obsessed with the 50s/early 60s silhouette, I wanted to try my hand at a vintage inspired dress, complete with a fluffy petticoat. I really like Ikea fabrics for bags and also for dressmaking, so I could not resist using this scribble-printed fabric.

Pattern: Lisette Traveller (Simplicity 2246), modified, size 10, view C

Fabric: 3m Ikea BRITTEN NUMMER

Notions: 9 x 50mm shank buttons; light interfacing for collar; petticoat

Talking points: I followed the bodice pattern pretty much as it was. However, i used the sleeves as per view A/B instead, up to elbow length and turned them. Very happy with the collar, though it’s just a turned collar, not one with a collar stand. The skirt was a completely different kettle of fish. I really wanted to get the look of a dress I had seen on Pinterest, with a wide hem that was quite stiff. So I ended up using all the fabric left from making the bodice and sleeves and gathered it into the skirt. In order to get the desired hem length and shape, I folded the bottom 12 cm twice and machine stitched (saved the hand stitching, which would have driven me mad). Overall, very happy with the outcome, though it would need the waistline raised by about 2 cms and the bodice taken in 1 cm on each side, as it feels a bit loose. Note to self for the next time, as I can’t be bothered to unpick it now. I’m only sorry I don’t get to wear it as much as I would like, maybe a bit fancy for the office…

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Green silky vintage inspired dress

In a few words: My first dress using a vintage pattern, albeit retro rather than vintage (a modern remake of an original pattern, remade at modern, multi pattern standards). I learnt how to line the bodice without hand stitching, which came in quite handy later on. And I did the first invisible zipper all by myself (before it had been under the supervision of my teacher).

Pattern: Butterick Retro B5748 

Fabric: 2m (1.10m wide) polyester silky fabric that I got in Thailand in 2012; polyester lining; black heavy netting

Notions: Invisible zipper

Talking points: I didn’t have enough fabric to make the full skirt as the pattern required, so ended up just gathering the remaining yardage after making the bodice. I had wanted to make a petticoat, but did not have the patience to make a proper one, so I ended up sewing a few rows of gathered netting straight onto the lining, so it the dress has some sort of in-built petticoat. The main shortfall of this dress is the fact that I forgot to understitch the neckline of the bodice and it’s very annoyingly sticking out when I wear it. Oh well, I learnt my lesson after that!

Stretch cotton and faux-leather cocktail dress

In a few words: This has been for a very long time one of my favourite creations. I literally dreamt it up one night and woke up in the morning just dying to start working on it. It was made for my best friend’s wedding and it felt more amazing than usual to say ‘Thank you, I made it myself!’.

Pattern: Redrafted, bodice – based on Vogue 1102 (I am huge fan of Andrea Katz designs), excluding the bow. Skirt – Burda Mag March ’09, which I lined.

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Fabric: Stretch cotton (the black fabric), which started off as a print, but I Dylon died black (I hate flower prints). The leatherette is actually medium weight upholstery leather from Abakhan.

Notions: Metallic zipper from Abakhan

Talking points: This was my first foray into the world of faux leather and I’ve never looked back. I’d probably make it from lighter weight faux leather, but it behaves well for how thick it is, especially on the back, being stiff enough to hold and not gape (I did tweak the pattern slightly to make it a bit closer fitting). It is surprisingly comfortable, in spite of the fact that you cannot really wear a bra with it, but the stretch of the fabric and the fact that the front bodice is self-lined gives really good support. I am actually thinking of making it again, but probably too long a queue before I’ll get around to it. Also to note, this was the first time I’ve ever made a toile, but because of the mish-mash of patterns, it really was a must.

Chiffon shirt

In a few words: A challenging fabric, but it felt very good to have conquered it. My new sewing machine really helped and gave me the confidence to tackle such fabrics, go IDT!!

Pattern: Vogue 8772, view B, size 10

Fabric: Poly chiffon from Abakhan chiffon bundle

Notions: 10 self-cover buttons and light interfacing

Talking points: Chiffon is hard to work with. Period. But I found that it the worst part was actually the cutting, more than the sewing. I ended up starching the chiffon with spray starch and that helped a lot. Now I would probably just use the rotary cutter, but I have read that using tissue paper also helps when cutting with scissors. Also, the button holes and topstitching were a hoot, but if you haven’t got a Pfaff with IDT, a walking foot would probably be helpful. Oh, and French seams are awesome (the first time I used them).


2013 was a great sewing year!

Happy sewing!


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